Sunday, April 15, 2012
Book Blogger Confessions #8: Review Requests
Book Blogger Confessions is a meme that posts the 1st and 3rd Monday of every month, where book bloggers "confess" and vent about topics that are unique to us.
Feel free to share, vent and offer solutions. Just keep it respectful - no bashing authors or other bloggers! If you want to participate just grab our button and include it in your post with a link to either Tiger's All Consuming Media or For What It's Worth. We will be providing a linky at the end of our posts so people can "hop" to see all the participants answers.
Also feel free to offer suggestions for future Book Blogger Confession topics.
Question: Review/Guest post requests:
Do you have a review request policy? Has it changed over time?
I do have a review policy and I update it every few months. I have narrowed the genres that I accept and I no longer guarantee a review after accepting the book. I have also added that I might not be able to read or review the book for up to 2 months.
How do you handle requests that don’t meet your criteria?
If the author obviously hasn't read my review policy or sends a mass email request with multiple spelling errors or gets my blog name wrong I don't always email a response or I politely decline. Otherwise I try to respond to each request.
I sort requests. I decline if it's not a book I would be interested in now or in the future. If a review request sounds interesting but I don't have time to read/review at that time, I let the author know that I may have an opening in the near future and I have a folder for those requests to get back to them.
In the past, what types of "pitches" have caught your attention? Are there any (non-specific) examples of requests that are off-putting to you as a blogger?
*What works: (for me)
-A clear, simple request explaining a little about the author, the book and any author links. Something that shows you've read a few of my reviews to understand my likes/dislikes always helps.
I like links to Amazon and Goodreads to see what others are saying but neither good or bad reviews are a deciding factor in my decision.
*What doesn’t work:
- Hearing about an authors personal life. Unless the book is autobiographical and it pertains directly to the story I don’t like knowing an authors personal details or real life struggles. I may empathize with the authors situation but I'm even less likely to accept the request for fear of offending them with a potentially negative review. (This is the biggest request faux pas IMO - the author seems too emotional and it makes the professional blogger/author relationship too personal right out of the gate) A friendly rapport is great but not too friendly - or personal......just my opinion.
-Trying to “sell” me on the book by including dozens of reviews by people I’ve never heard of. Short review snippets are ok but neither of us has a lot of time to read emails all day so clear and to the point works best with me.
-Promising high traffic or cross promotion if I review a book, host a guest post or author giveaway. That's not how I choose what to read or feature on my blog. If I read a book or host an author it’s because I find the book/author interesting. Traffic is nice but that’s not even close to a deciding factor.
- The “Bloggers are the greatest thing ever – please review my book” mass market email. I appreciate the sentiment and I know it takes time to write individual emails to everyone but those types of requests take too long to read and don’t really tell me anything about the author or their book. A simple thank you for your time & maybe “I appreciate what you do” at the end of an email would be a better approach.
Bottom line. I don't have time to read and review every book that I want to. I REALLY wish I did. A nice cover will catch my eye. A request that is polite but informative *about the book* - one that shows the author paid attention to my review policy will grab my attention more than one filled with pleading or warning me that I’m missing out on something great.
I absolutely HATE sending rejection letters for review requests. Especially debut or self pub authors who take a lot of heat these days. I want to give every book and author a chance. I try go through all the requests once a week. I find almost all authors appreciate a response even if you aren't going to be able to review their book. They took the time to reach out so I try to be respectful of that even if I can’t get to their book yet.
There have been many requests that I turned down but the author was so kind about it that it stayed in the back of my mind and I'll buy the book if I happen to see it on Amazon etc. months later. Goodwill goes a long way.
I'm sure this works both ways in how we treat authors.
Upcoming BBC questions:
Monday – May 7th: Comments. The holy grail of blogging success! What type of posts do you leave comments on? How do you try to encourage more comments on your blog? Do you respond to people who leave comments on your posts? How do you handle negative/spam comments? Do you use captcha?
Monday May 21st: